Current projects

Biomarker Discovery

Biomarker discovery is an important area of our research in the fight against asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis. These conditions, often caused by exposure to asbestos, can be challenging to detect early, leading to limited treatment options. By uncovering specific biomarkers that indicate the presence or progression of these diseases, doctors can step in sooner to help patients.

These biomarkers may also help doctors categorise patients based on how severe their illness is and how they respond to treatment. This means treatments can be more personalised, which could lead to better outcomes and survival rates.

With our focused and ongoing research into biomarkers, we hope to uncover improved ways to diagnose and treat asbestos-related diseases, bringing us closer to more effective management and care for patients.

1.1 Circular RNA’s as potential biomarkers for malignant pleural mesothelioma

This project aims to identify and validate new blood-based biomarkers to facilitate an improved and less invasive diagnosis of mesothelioma.


  • Dust Diseases Board
  • United States Department of Defence
  • Revesby Worker’s club

You can read more about this project here:

1.2 Small and Large Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Pleural Mesothelioma Cell Lines Offer Biomarker Potential

Pleural mesothelioma, previously known as malignant pleural mesothelioma, is an aggressive and fatal cancer of the pleura, with one of the poorest survival rates. Pleural mesothelioma is in urgent clinical need for biomarkers to aid early diagnosis, improve prognostication, and stratify patients for treatment. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have great potential as biomarkers; however, there are limited studies to date on their role in pleural mesothelioma.

We conducted a comprehensive proteomic analysis on different EV populations derived from different pleural mesothelioma cell lines and an immortalized control cell line. We characterized three subtypes of EVs (10 K, 18 K, and 100 K), and identified a total of 4054 unique proteins. Major differences were found in the cargo between the three EV subtypes. We show that 10 K EVs were enriched in mitochondrial components and metabolic processes, while 18 K and 100 K EVs were enriched in endoplasmic reticulum stress. We found 46 new cancer-associated proteins for pleural mesothelioma, and the presence of mesothelin and PD-L1/PD-L2 enriched in 100 K and 10 K EV, respectively.

We demonstrate that different EV populations derived from pleural mesothelioma cells have unique cancer-specific proteomes and carry oncogenic cargo, which could offer a novel means to extract biomarkers of interest for pleural mesothelioma from liquid biopsies.


  • Dust Diseases Board
  • Turner Freeman Lawyer

1.3. Extracellular Vesicles, a Gateway to Precision Medicine: Immunotherapy in Mesothelioma

Over the last decade, extracellular vesicles (EV) shed by cancer cells (CC) as well as their tumour environment have been established as a very promising source of biomarker discovery, with a great potential to assist with the diagnosis and prognosis of different types of cancer in the clinical setting. This is particularly true for pleural mesothelioma where treatment options and diagnostic biomarkers are very limited.

Even though several reports, including our preliminary data, suggest elevated EV levels following chemotherapy in different types of cancer, there is limited knowledge about how immunotherapeutic agents will affect the heterogenous composition of different populations of MPM derived EV. In collaboration with Prof. Stephen Clark (Royal North Shore Hospital) and Dr. Steven Kao (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse/ADDRI), a prospective study will commence to recruit PM patients undergoing immunotherapy treatment. The collected blood samples will be used for a full characterization of different EV subtypes and a comprehensive analysis of their cargo. We will particularly search for EV cargo differences between patients in regard to their response to immunotherapy. The results obtained from this study will enhance our understanding of how immunotherapeutic drugs contribute to the loss or gain of classical molecular markers which could then be translated to predictive biomarkers.

Dust Diseases Board

Understanding the Mechanisms involved in diseases development and progression

Therapeutic Development

The ‘honey’ project

We relentlessly explore every avenue to achieve our mission of improving patient outcomes, uncovering new treatments and ultimately finding a cure for mesothelioma. Our ADDRI research team is currently focusing on developing a novel approach that combines beneficial immunotherapy with anti-cancer natural products. This research is currently recruiting patient for Phase 1 Clinical Trial examining the impact and benefits of the Manuka compound (Study of Leptospermum polygalifolium extract (QV0 in mesothelioma or ‘The Honey Project’.) If successful, this will provide a natural option for the treatment of the currently incurable cancer malignant mesothelioma.

Read more about the project here:

Advancing technology

Development of a self-powered dye sensitized solar cell sensor as a point-of-care (POC) device for portable and fast extracellular vesicles (EV)-based cancer diagnosis

Have you been impacted?

ADDRI can support you, your friends or family members if you have found out that you have been impacted by asbestos and dust related diseases.

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